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6 Ways Email Automation Can Elevate Your Customer Support

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff

Automate your email communications without coming across as cold to customers.

  • Email automation saves time, but should be done in a very professional way that doesn't come off as cold.
  • Customer support teams can use automated emails in several ways, including troubleshooting and collecting feedback.
  • Create templates to save time during communications with customers who email you.

Customer support is often a forgotten part of the sales cycle. However, it is critical to the long-term success of a company. With the increasing reliance on electronic communications, email automation is a must for companies – large and small – that want to keep their customers happy.

Leveraging email automation strategically can improve your customer support while also streamlining communication with customers and reducing customer support demands. It is a win-win for the customer and the business.

 

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What exactly is email automation, and how does it help?

"Email automation" is a broad term for any program, application, add-on, or system that leverages technology to improve the sending, retrieval, and storage of emails.

Email automation also uses analytics to help companies pinpoint and fine-tune their marketing efforts. By looking at how prospects and customers react to emails – do they read them and actually click on the links within them? – companies can improve their electronic communications.

Contrary to what the term "automated" implies, automation of email marketing and communications does not mean that your emails become cold and robotic. In practice (and when done properly), email automation should result in a more personalized experience for the customer.

The customer should feel that the emails they receive are relevant and interesting, instead of impersonal, cookie-cutter communications that don't speak to their needs or interests. Email automation can help with all of this.

5 email automation tips to enhance customer support

Fortunately, applying email automation to customer emails is easier than ever. Here are some tips on how to best use email automation technologies to make your customers happier:

1. Personalize outgoing emails automatically.

One of the most basic forms of email automation is leveraging mail merge. Using data from customer relationship management (CRM) software such as Salesforce, you can automatically embed a client's name and company information into an email.

But the possibilities of personalization go beyond just including a name in an email. You can also use information from the CRM to record information about what product features a potential client might be interested in. You could then use that information to start an automatic email flow that incorporates specific information about that feature in a series of personalized email missives.

2. Provide consistency with email templates.

When responding to support requests, support staff could potentially waste a lot of time and energy writing unique emails for each issue. Instead, use prewritten email templates to ensure every customer gets the same support answers for the same issue. These email templates can also be customized for individual recipients to add that personal touch.

3. Gather feedback with embedded polls and surveys.

Find out what your customers really think by embedding a poll or survey into an email. Rather than outbound Net Promoter links, in-email polls can be a great way for customers to provide feedback. In-email surveys are a convenient and easy way for your customers to share their experience, enabling your business to collect voluntarily provided data to improve your product and your customer service.

4. Schedule emails to send later.

The ability to schedule emails can be a huge benefit to salespeople, staff and business owners. Let's say you have a small business with a team that may work from home at various times of the day, but you want to give the impression of a professional company with regular hours. Scheduling emails to send later can help with this. Your employee, who may prefer to work at 10 p.m., can follow up on emails and have them scheduled to go out first thing in the morning.

Scheduling can be used for a lot of other applications as well. For example, you might schedule a follow-up email with a customer for two weeks after your last response to them.

5. Integrate with other systems.

As already mentioned, integration with a CRM such as Salesforce can make your email communications that much more powerful. Email can also integrate with other platforms and SaaS offerings, such as Google Calendar, Dropbox, Twitter or GitHub. Connect emails with tweets or include attachments from your preferred cloud storage provider. All of this makes email faster and more convenient – making your responses to customers timelier.

6. Leverage email automation to improve your customer support.

Make your customers happier by applying the best practices of email automation to your next online marketing campaign or customer follow-up time. By using technology improvements such as automated personalization, email templates, and embedded polls and surveys, you can engage and entice your existing customer base. They will appreciate your business more, and you will save time and money in the process.

Examples of good automated emails for customer service 

Hi, [insert name]. Thank you for reaching out. We received your email and will get back to you as soon as possible. Our regular business hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

This example provides personalization to directly address the customer. The email is helpful by providing business hours to let the person know when to expect a response.

Hi there. We are reviewing your message and will get back to you as quickly as possible. In the meantime, feel free to contact us by phone to speak directly with one of our associates.

This email lets the sender know you're working on the issue and to expect a reply quickly. It also allows for an expedited way to contact your business if the issue can't wait.

Image Credit: Unuchko Ve / Shutterstock
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